Hourglass Spider or “Trapdoor Spider”
The ‘Chinese hourglass spider’ (or Cyclocosmia or “trapdoor spider”), is a genus of spiders in the Ctenizidae family, and there have only ever been 6 sightings of the arachnid since it was re-discovered in 2000.
The Chinese hourglass spider is a trapdoor spider which lives underground. The abdomen of spiders in this genus is abruptly truncated and ends in a hardened disc which is strengthened by a system of ribs and grooves. They use this to clog the entrance of their 7 to 15 cm deep vertical burrows when threatened, a phenomenon called phragmosis. Strong spines are located around the edge of the disk. The four spinnerets are found just anterior to it, with the posterior, retractable spinnerets particularly large. C. ricketti females are 28 mm long, with a disk diameter of 16 mm. Only the bottom portion of the burrow is silk lined. The species in this genus are distinguished from each other by the pattern of the abdominal disk, the number of hairs on its seam, and the shape of the spermathecae.
This Terrifying Hourglass Spider featuring bizarre ‘disc’ shape on its belly found by Chinese farmer is only the sixth sighting in past 100 years. The man thought he had uncovered an antique before the rare beast started moving around.
Chinese hourglass spider is a type of trapdoor spiders. Trapdoor spiders are rarely seen because they live their lives in below-ground burrows that are covered by trapdoors. Made by the spider using mixtures of soil, sand, and/or plant material, and silk, the trapdoor serves to hide the spider when it forages for meals at the burrow entrance, usually at night.
The Cyclocosmia spider was first identified in Southeast Asia in 1901. The spiders of this species are quite large, up to 28 mm long, with a disc diameter of 16 mm. They live in burrows in the ground and use their strong flattened abdomen to clog the entrance when they are threatened.
Today the spiders are kept as pets by some people. Since the spiders are rare their prices are high. Lately a Cyclocosmia was sold online in China for 12,000 yuan (~$1,750). The farmer, who has brought the spider home, now intends to sell it “at a good price,” the report says.